In the established tradition of end-of-the-year surveys that so dominate media at this time of year, I thought it would only be appropriate to offer my own such list of the Top 5 new supercars of 2010. Please note, unlike the clinical and carefully measured studies of the serious auto mags, this list is a purely emotional response to the most eye-catching, powerful, and technologically impressive highline sports cars that debuted this year. Consideration for this particular list was limited to exotic 2-seaters, irrespective of production or concept basis.
Tied 4th place – SSC Ultimate Aero II
Washington–based Shelby SuperCars (no relation to Carroll Shelby) enjoyed a David vs. Goliath moment in 2007 when their original Ultimate Aero supplanted Koenigsegg (and prior record holder Bugatti) as the fastest production car on the planet. After Bugatti regained the crown earlier this year with another retuned version of the Veyron, SSC answered with the Ultimate Aero II. Still in development, the new car’s Enzo-like shell, penned by former Pininfarina stylist Jason Castriota, rebuts critics of the first generation design’s 80’s wedge styling. The Aero II will purportedly produce 1,350 horsepower, a figure that in combination with extreme weight savings (we’re talking purpose-built, one-piece carbon fiber wheels) should be enough to propel the car to the manufacturer’s estimated top speed of 275 mph, just a hair faster than the 268 mph record set by…
Tied 4th place – Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
The current top-speed king of the hill, the Veyron Super Sport, debuted to much fanfare last August when it set the record in Germany, subsequently serving as a centerpiece for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Quail Motorsports Gathering and the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion. Despite shocking performance numbers (2.5 seconds 0-62 mph, 268 mph top speed, 1,200 horsepower), this car is essentially an upgraded version of the Veyron, a model that has been in production since 2006. Thus, the lack of a brand new design kept this extreme supercar, which handles as luxuriously as it accelerates ferociously, from placing higher on the top 5.
3rd place – Morgan Eva GT
Epitomizing the entirely subjective and emotional nature of my judging criteria, the Eva GT is neither as powerful or pedigreed as some of the other notables mentioned on this list. But, oh, what a design! Morgan continues to find new and successful ways of re-interpreting their classic British sports car motifs. The sweeping fender lines and grille treatment are futuristic renderings of the now familiar Morgan cues, themselves an amalgamation of 1930s era design triumphs. And while this car won’t ever be in the hunt for fastest anything, its BMW 3 liter straight six engine is more than capable of 4.5 second 0-60 mph launches.
2nd place – Porsche 918 Spyder
Enthusiasts far and wide were thrilled when Porsche announced that this hybrid powertrain concept car would be approved for production development. Though most of the major highline manufacturers are attempting to enter the ev/hybrid market, Porsche is the only one to field a car designed from the ground up as a standalone platform (unlike Mercedes-Benz or Audi). The car also deftly answers the call for a successor to the out-of-production Carrera GT, and the Spyder moniker evokes those classic 550s and RS spyders of the 60s. It doesn’t look half bad, either…
1st place – Jaguar C-X75
Our winner is unfortunately just a concept car, but what a stunner it is! Similar to the Porsche to the extent that it is built as a standalone platform, hybrid supercar, the C-X75 has the most effectively futuristic lines we’ve seen in some time. And the cockpit interface threatens to realize the full potential of Jag’s computer screen dashboard technology, already implemented to a lesser extent in the XJ production sedan. Unfortunately, the C-X75 will likely never see the light of day as a production reality, but if Top 5 lists aren’t all about dreams, then what good are they?